The physical toll of running three miles is nowhere near the physical toll of running three miles with nearly insurmountable obstacles along the way. It’s also nowhere near the accomplishment.

UCC is the first and only college in the nation to field an Obstacle Course Race team. Here the team is coached by Andrea Bowden, a certified health coach and certified personal trainer.

Samantha Dara finished first with 34 minutes and 59 seconds. Ren Richardson came in second with 35:04, and Carly Mauch finished third with 36:23.

The team participated this year in races such as the Spartan competition and the Warrior Dash. Their hope has been to reach out to other U.S. college athletic directors to get them to participate in these races in order to legitimize this non-traditional sport as a part of their athletic programs. The sport is a part of UCC student recruitment plan. When the RiverHawks compete in races, non-UCC OCR athletes see the college team and want to come here.

Jeremiah Cranley finished first with 26 minutes, 34 seconds. Alan King finished second with 26:55, and Ross Pinard finished third with 28:53.

To bring additional awareness in the local area to the sport, the OCR team put together their fourth Champion Challenge Obstacle Course Race for the community to participate in on Saturday, April 27. The competition had a total of three races for people who could run at the time they desired. Registration fees of $25 per person were collected to help the team travel and put on more future events.

The first race began at 9 a.m. The second was at 10 a.m., and the final at 11 a.m. Runners included community members, students and staff.

To complete her vision for the event, Bowden received a little help. The baseball team helped to prepare the field while the OCR team set up all the obstacles. Zack Skoglie from Country Financial was the first ever sponsor of these local OCR races, providing swag bags and prizes for men and women place.

The event was billed as “one of the hilliest courses you’ll ever find. It’s a short (about 3 miles), and carry-heavy course, where the fastest athletes and the strongest athletes could go toe-to-toe,” their poster said.

“I was excited to go into it because I didn’t know what to expect.”
—Jake Sutton

Jake Sutton, UCC basketball player, participated in the first race. “ I was excited to go into it because I didn’t know what to expect. They told me what was going to be there, but I couldn’t really picture it. It was fun. It was easier because I didn’t know what to expect,” Sutton said.

The race was hard enough that the reward of crossing the finish line was not enough for everyone. As competitor Alec Hillman gripped his way up the rock wall in the middle of the course, he yelled to everyone watching, “I’m going to McDonald’s after.”

“It felt good…. Drink Gatorade for the electrolytes.”
— Kyle Hansen

Kyle Hansen, who placed third in the Sacramento Spartan obstacle course race in 2018, said, “I didn’t want to do it. But it felt good after.” He says he is glad he did it and feels accomplished. He added a quick reminder about the importance in fueling your body: “Drink Gatorade for the electrolytes.”

Stephen Hunter stayed in first place for the whole 9 a.m. race. “I thought it would be a bit harder cause I did it before, and I pushed myself. I had fun,” Hunter said.

“I like obstacle course racing because it tests your overall physical fitness.”

Garrison Leif, a member of a the Obstacle Course Race Team, shared, “I like obstacle course racing because it tests your overall physical fitness.”

The UCC OCR team currently includes 10 members. “Our obstacle course racecourse is one of the best training grounds any OCR-lover is going to get. We think young athletes who are graduating high school, who either want to get in the best shape of their lives, or who want to continue racing OCR should not miss out on this amazing opportunity to be a part of this school,” Bowden said in an email. “We need to raise awareness throughout the OCR community throughout the country that this opportunity exists. It’s one of a kind!”